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BIRN - Burns Injury Research Network

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  • London, England, UK
  • Chelmsford, England, UK

Introduction to the Centre for Cutaneous Research


The Centre for Cutaneous Research (CCR) started life as an attached laboratory to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in 1983 with the appointment of Irene Leigh as Consultant Dermatologist to the London Hospital (now BLT). In 1989, the laboratory became the ICRF Skin Tumour Laboratory (STL) as an independent clinical unit and in 1996, the Centre for Cutaneous Research (CCR) was formed as a joint development between the ICRF STL and Academic Dept. of Dermatology. The CCR comprises a large group of over 80 non-clinical and clinical scientists studying keratinocyte biology  with extensive shared expertise and facilities developed over the last 22 years. This has created a unique unit in the national environment with a critical mass of both clinical and non-clinical scientists.

The CCR moved again (May 2005) into expanded laboratory space in the new Institute of Cell and Molecular Science (ICMS), which will provide wonderful new laboratory space for the Burns research programme. Professor Mike Philpott acts as Centre lead and there are multiple research teams within the centre each led by a senior academic.The CCR has a collegial structure where team leaders, centre lead, and representatives from other staff form a laboratory management group chaired by one of their number to manage all aspects of the research activity.

The Cancer Research-UK (previously ICRF) STL remains the most important core grant to the CCR (just renewed at £1 million per annum). and provides support for 10.7 WTE individuals, with one position shared between the STL and the Barts/London CR-UK Clinical Centre The remaining funding is from the NHS (28 PAs), HEFCE (5.2 WTE), and the rest from research grants. The total annual external research income for 2005-6 is >£1.5 million (>5% of the total SMD research income) in addition to direct funding from CR-UK per annum - a total annual research income of> £2.5 million.

Collaboration network Local, National and International


In addition to extensive collaborations within the ICMS and CCR, there are important international collaborations resulting from the recognition of CCR as the premier cutaneous research centre in Europe. There are multiple European networks: Geneskin, Therapeuskin, and UVI-EPI-CA, including collaborations with multiple units in France, Italy, and Germany, as well as individual collaborations. However, more specifically Simon Myers and Harshad Navsaria have, through the Foreign Office, and agreements signed at Ambassadorial level, established important collaborations with burns units in Paraguay and the Dominican Republic, particularly following a devastating fire in Paraguay.

QM Educational developments with City University & CETL


HEFCE has funded a collaborative Centre for Teaching and Learning between QMUL and City University, which trains nurses and other allied health professionals and provides a platform for developing nursing education and research programmes. However there is a special relationship at Broomfield with Anglia Ruskin University, particularly for psychology research. Both these institutions will be involved in developing medium to longterm proposals.

Background Introduction to Queen Mary, University of London


Queen Mary, University of London, the fourth largest college of the University of London, is entirely independent and self-governing, and is funded directly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. There are about 8,000 students studying for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the faculties of Arts, Engineering, Informatics and Mathematical Sciences, Laws, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry. The College is situated on four main campuses. The West Smithfield and Charterhouse Square campuses are located on historic sites in the City of London itself, while the Whitechapel and Mile End campuses are sited just one and two miles respectively from the City.

The School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD)

It was formed in 1995 on the merger of Queen Mary and Westfield College with St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School and The London Hospital Medical College creating a major centre of medical and dental research and teaching in London. External research income in 2004-5 was ca £26.9 million and the School structure comprises six Institutes whose composition and location are largely driven by a research agenda. The composition of each Institute has been designed to co-locate congruent groups of research centres sharing common research goals, techniques and infrastructure, including materials, technical support and equipment, and to provide maximal opportunity for interaction and co-operation with the relevant clinical activity.

The Institute of Cell & Molecular Science (ICMS)

The ICMS of Barts and the London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry (BLQMSMD) is housed in a new building in Whitechapel occupied in May 2005. The Institute currently houses ca 250 staff and has the capacity for 400 staff and students in state of the art open plan office and laboratory accommodation. The research facilities include a transgenic unit, a flow cytometry facility and the School's core facilities in Functional Genomics and Cell Imaging, plus a new animal facility in the adjacent building. The research infrastructure has been further enhanced by a £2million SRIF2 equipment grant. The bid to the Healing Foundation involves collaboration within ICMS with research in infection and immunity within the Centre for Infectious Disease.

Barts and the London NHS Trust


Academic clinicians in dermatology and plastic surgery run their super specialist clinics within the main clinical, teaching and research Partner Trust of the SMD: Barts and the London NHS Trust (BLT). This is a major trauma centre and the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Service) has frequently been involved in transport of major burns victims. Mr. Simon Myers was recruited as Clinical Senior Lecturer with his surgical lists at BLT, and the full support of the plastic surgeons (led by Graeme Moir) who are involved in educational and research initiatives.

Joint Research Office


The Joint Research Office of Barts/London SMD and Trust was established in 2004 by Prof Leigh when Joint Research Director. It provides extensive research support for grant costing and finance management, research governance training and support to ensure good clinical practice, ethics interface assistance. There is a research facilitator for multidisciplinary research and the provision of a dedicated Clinical Research Centre with dedicated research nurses and business managers. There is also a direct link to the NHS Innovations hub in London and the HEIF Innovations academic unit. This provides a unique support for research management in all aspects.

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  1. Susannah Fox. Pew Internet: Health. Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Dec 16, 2013. https://www.pewinternet.org/Commentary/2011/November/Pew-Internet-Health.aspx. Accessed on January 15, 2014.
  2. Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project Spring Tracking Survey, April 17-May 19, 2013.
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